Amid declining sales tax revenue after Harvey, Humble mulls 1-cent tax hike

City of Humble officials are considering raising the city's property tax rate by 1 cent for the second consecutive year after major flooding events again reduced sales tax revenue.

The city council held a public hearing regarding the tax rate—which is expected to rise to 22.5471 cents per $100 valuation from 21 cents—and to approve its $84 million budget Sept. 14. Residents with a $200,000 home could see their tax bills increase by $31.

The city is expected to approve its tax rate in October.

The new rate is still affordable for residents, Mayor Merle Aaron said. Tomball residents pay 34 cents per $100 valuation, and the city of Conroe has a 41.75 cents per $100 valuation property tax rate.

“We’re probably the lowest ad valorem tax rate I know on the north side of Harris County, and I know it is as low as any tax rate in Harris County,” Aaron said.

The increase will provide the city with an estimated additional $380,421 in property tax revenue. The revenue will help the city offset a possible loss of $500,000 in sales tax after Hurricane Harvey caused more than 40 businesses to temporarily close, City Manager Darrell Boeske said.

Sales tax revenue has declined from $13.6 million in 2015-16 to a projected $13 million in 2017-18, according to the budget.

The city does not anticipate adding any flood mitigation projects, Boeske said.

“We don’t flood, this is a river issue,” Boeske said.

The 2017-18 budget includes earmarks for more than $21 million in capital improvement projects—a $2 million increase from 2016-17. However, the city will be cautious with starting new projects in the wake of Harvey, Assistant City Manager Jason Stuebe said.

Two major transportation projects—including $2.25 million to complete the four-lane expansion of the north-south portion of Townsen Boulevard west of Hwy. 59 and the $3.3 million for the reconstruction of Rankin Road—are funded within the budget.

The budget also features $1.67 million in funding for Phase II of its concrete and asphalt pavement project.


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